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Raccoon inside Petco location at 1820 West Uintah Street

Anyone who may have had contact with this raccoon is urged to contact Public Health

El Paso County, CO – Today Public Health was notified that yesterday, June 7, a baby raccoon was brought into the Petco store located at 1820 West Uintah Street. Public Health asks that the individual who brought this racoon into the store call 719-578-3220 to discuss the health of the animal.

Public Health is encouraging anyone who either had contact with this raccoon or may have been at this location between 10 – 11 a.m. yesterday, June 7 to reach out to Public Health immediately at (719) 578-3220.

Public Health is working with the store to obtain more details about the situation, but at this time the raccoon has not been located and it is unknown whether the animal has rabies. While this raccoon is not confirmed to have rabies, it is still important to reach out to Public Health if you may have been exposed.

Preventive vaccination is available for people known or suspected to have been in contact with a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor and Public Health immediately.

“Rabies is much more common in the summer months,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health Medical Director. “It’s critical to remember not to touch, feed or take care of wildlife, as they have the potential to carry rabies.”

Rabies is a virus that infects wild mammals, especially bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. Rabies affects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and is nearly always fatal once symptoms appear. Rabies spreads primarily through the bite of rabid animals, via infected saliva. Rabies can also be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots must be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals such as skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please do not leave pet food outdoors.
  • If people or pets are bitten or scratched by an aggressive wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and report to El Paso County Public Health’s bite report portal.
  • Bat bites can be difficult to detect. If you find bat in your house and are unsure how long it has been there, do not release the bat. Contact Public Health at 719-578-3220.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options at (719) 473-1741.

How to recognize sick wildlife:

  • Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
  • Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
  • However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

Reports of Confirmed Rabies in El Paso County, Colorado (2010-2019)

2019: 16 (5 bat, 9 skunks, 1 fox & 1 dog)

2018: 67 (6 bats, 60 skunks, 1 raccoon)

2017: 28 (7 bats, 21 skunks)

2016: 3 (bats)

2015: 6 (5 bats, 1 cat)

2014: 10 (bats)

2013: 8 (4 bats, 2 foxes, 2 skunks)

2012: 3 (bats)

2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)

2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)

For more information, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org

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